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India’s power output grows at fastest pace in 33 years, fuelled by coal

April 27, 2023

By Paul Homewood

Meanwhile India’s coal boom continues:






SINGAPORE, April 5 (Reuters) – India’s power generation grew at the fastest pace in over three decades in the just-ended fiscal year, a Reuters analysis of government data showed, fuelling a sharp surge in emissions as output from both coal-fired and renewable plants hit records.

Intense summer heatwaves, a colder-than-usual winter in northern India and an economic recovery led to a jump in electricity demand, forcing India to crank up output from coal plants and solar farms as it scrambled to avoid power cuts.

Power generation rose 11.5% to 1,591.11 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), or units, in the fiscal year ended March 2023, an analysis of daily load data from regulator Grid-India showed, the sharpest increase since year ended March 1990.


Reuters Graphics

Output from plants running on fossil fuels rose 11.2%, the quickest growth in over three decades, thanks to a 12.4% surge in electricity production from coal, the analysis showed, offsetting a 28.7% decline in generation from cleaner gas-fired plants as a global spike in LNG prices deterred usage.

In the new fiscal year that began April 1, Indian power plants are expected to burn about 8% more coal.

The share of renewables in power generation, excluding big hydro and nuclear power, rose to 11.8% in 2022/23, compared with 10.8% the previous year, the data showed, driven mainly by a 35% increase in solar output.

Despite increases in solar output, the share of renewables only rose by 1% year on year.

India needs still more coal power, as they power shortages are not falling. And guess what? When demand peaks, you cannot simply switch on a solar panel or wind turbine!

Reuters Graphics

  1. GeoffB permalink
    April 27, 2023 5:00 pm

    Pity we demolished our coal power stations, green signalling is not really a good policy, Germany sensibly moth balled theirs and most of them are back up and running. When Putin blows up our offshore wind farms, substations, and the gas pipe lines, we are going to be really inconvenienced. Maybe we can keep the few coal power stations going and get open cast coal restarted, it would make sense to really get on with fracking.
    Energy security now over rules all the net zero crap, any resistance by the eco loons should result in prosecution for treason. (Sedition is no longer on the statute book).

    • Tonyb permalink
      April 27, 2023 5:03 pm

      I would pay good money to sit in on the cabinet meeting when the energy secretary suggested we need to restart our open cast coal industry. I would pay even more if they brought up Fracking at the same time. I think my money is safe, though.

    • Mikehig permalink
      April 27, 2023 7:01 pm

      The Welsh parliament has just voted not to extend the permits for an open cast mine near Merthyr Tydfil so it will close in a couple of years. Its main client, Port Talbot steelworks, will have to get its coal elsewhere….

  2. Tonyb permalink
    April 27, 2023 5:01 pm

    Similar story to the China one. It seems the BRICS are literally steaming ahead of the west by using lots of reliable efficient coal. Presumably our Governments will be insisting they stop it and no doubt boatloads of climate protestors are getting read to sail over to both countries and demonstrate.

  3. It doesn't add up... permalink
    April 27, 2023 5:11 pm

    I decided I would have a go at asking some questions about the proposed LionLink interconnector. Answers supposedly in a fortnight.

    1) What plans are there for additional transmission capacity to transfer power imported on LionLink to areas of demand in England?

    2) What plans are there for additional transmission capacity to transport surplus (presumably wind and solar) power generated in GB for export via LionLink?

    3) Why was a landing site near Sizewell nuclear power station selected? Are the Dutch hoping to gain access to expanded nuclear at Sizewell C without having to pay a CFD premium for it, being subsidised by UK consumers instead? Is it intended that Sizewell output will be exported to allow more wind and solar to be utilised in GB?

    4) Why was it agreed that any connected wind farm and the associated HVDC platform would be in the Dutch sector?

    5) Despite that agreement, it transpires that the Dutch have yet to designate a wind farm site for connection or even to decide on its size, and that in consequence they have yet to determine where the link will come ashore in the Netherlands. Given that wind output, especially from smaller geographical areas, can approach zero for extended periods of time, what are the prospects for dispatchable sources of power to feed LionLink at the Netherlands end during periods of low wind in Europe? For comparison, the MPP2/3 plant is right next door to the BritNed HVDC converter station at Maasvlakte, Rotterdam, and thus has been the prime source of supply for Dutch exports, making it effectively a direct replacement for the cancelled Kingsnorth D power station.

    6) Is there any outline agreement on the rules for the use of LionLink and the pricing of power delivered to and by it? Who gets to pay if the connected windfarm is curtailed because neither country wants its output? Does the windfarm have priority over dispatch from shore?

    7) It seems that the capacity of the line has been decided at 1.8GW. What is the basis of this decision? What utilisation is expected for export and import at each shore station and what share of the connected wind is expected to go to each country?

    8) What is the expected cost or benefit for UK consumers from the project? For Dutch consumers? For GB generators? For Dutch generators? Modelling by AFRY in 2021 for OFGEM shows GB consumers, and indeed GB as a whole being losers from increased interconnection.

    These are all questions I would expect ministers to ask before giving the project their political endorsement, and thus answers should be readily available.

    Of course the chances that ministers actually asked many (even any?) of the questions are probably net zero.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      April 27, 2023 11:40 pm

      Excellent questions. I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for a reply!
      I vividly remember lockdown when Sizewell B was paid (by us) to run at half power whilst we imported Dutch coalfired generation over BritNed.

      • Jordan permalink
        April 28, 2023 9:50 pm

        “Sizewell B was paid (by us) to run at half power whilst we imported Dutch coalfired generation”
        This could happen to manage risk of single infeed loss. SWB single infeed loss is rated around 1.0-1.2GW when operating at full capacity. If the marginal cost of holding over 500MW operating reserve was greater than the marginal cost of turning down SWB in the instance you refer to, we’d expect the System Operator to turn down SWB. Naturally, this means SWB doesn’t operate at full capacity, but the argument goes that the true marginal cost (including holding the additional reserve) would have placed SWB out of merit to the extent it was the biggest infeed.
        If that’s what happened, there should be no reason for complaint about displacement of SWB with a genuinely lower marginal cost source.
        The single infeed loss question has consequences for Hinkley Point C units (and EPRs more generally in GB). HPC could mean holding operating reserve of 1.6-1.8GW to secure frequency against single infeed risk.
        Some years ago, there was a consultation asking whether operators of the largest infeed should pay the additional costs operating reserve (additional meaning the cost of running reserve compared to the next biggest infeed). The decision was to “socialise” the cost, and so “the consumer” will pay this cost. This can be seen as a hidden cost (some might call it a subsidy) of operating very large nuclear units in GB.

  4. Douglas Dragonfly permalink
    April 27, 2023 5:16 pm

    India burning more coal ? Why wouldn’t they ? Only corrupt and foolish leaders would willingly impoverish their people by decimating fossil fuel powered energy generation.
    And all in favour of some experimental, ineffective, wokery technology.
    Time to cut out the political dead wood and build a beautiful great bonfire.

  5. ancientpopeye permalink
    April 27, 2023 5:26 pm

    Makes our less than 1% carbon emissions look, shall we say infinitisimal?

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